It isn’t ever going to be the same again, but how many times have I said that already this season? Joss Carter’s death wasn’t all that long ago, and its aftermath extended, but do we even remember her now, as things have shifted, both violently and inexorably, over the last third of the season. Where would she fit into our rapidly dying little world? What role might she play?
Deus Ex Machina. The God in the Machine. What, might we suppose, will the Machine do as Vigilance and Peter Collier play Trial-and-Execution with her creator?
Be very careful. This is a story of defeat, of almost total defeat, and the destruction of everything Person of Interest has been to date. It is the story of quite complex plotting, stretching back over years, to create the very circumstances that start this episode, when Peter Collier – a fanatic whose fanaticism is brought out brilliantly by Leslie Odom Jr, whose whole body glows with the self-righteousness of those who know – puts the enemies of the world on trial. Presidential aide Manuel Rivera, Senator Ross Garrison, Control, John Greer… and Harld Finch.
Their trial, the debates, the anger in Collier’s inability to see any other point of view and his insistence that his brother’s case is the entirety of the system instead of a potential outlier, these are the stuff of the episode. And the ‘defendants’ responses: Rivera’s furious and shouting challenge to Vigilance’s ‘power’ to do this that gets him summarily executed, proving Mao Zedong’s maxim that power grows from the barrel of a gun, Garrison’s political weaseling and throwing Control under a bus, her calm non-answers in the knowledge she will be killed.
All of this is more asorbing that the outer elements of the plot, the almost mundane strands. Reese and Hersh form an unlikely but oddly effective partnership, going to Finch’s rescue, whilst Shaw takes off to cover Root’s back as she plugs her seven servers into Samaritan.
And Harold, unable to see anyone being killed if there is a way he can save them. Finch gives away the most important secret of them all, that he designed and built the Machine, as a quid pro quo for Vigilance letting the other three live. Of course he’s wasted his breath, of course Collier will still kill everyone. he doesn’t even listen to Finch explain everything. He has erected the straw figure in his mind and no amount of testimony, or honesty or evidence to the contrary will serve to deflect him from that one true image in his mind, that vital truth that only he sees, knows and understands.
hersh and Reese are on the way, but it’s planned out. It has been from before Peter Collier’s brother was picked up for something we cannot be certain he didn’t do. Many things can be made to look what they are not, especially for those who are looking for what they want to see.
Decima find Vigilance’s ‘court’ first because they’s always known where it is. Hersh finds a mega bomb in the basement and tries, bravely, instinctively and unavailingly, to defuse it. The bomb, and the loss of collateral life, is Vigilance’s swansong. It, and everything, has been Greer’s plan: establishing Vigilance as a useful devil, grooming Collier, setting them up as fall guys, all to tip the balance. The bomb goes off, Garrison authorises Samaritan, which will go live within the hour. Collier is shot and killed, Finch would be but for the intervention of Reese.
But the defeat is overwhelming. Everythng is gone. Root’s servers weren’t meant to shut Samaritan down, they couldn’t. Instead, they create seven blind spots – herself, Shaw, Reese, Finch and the three computer nerds. When Samaritan comes looking for them, and that’s the first thing Greer will have it do, it will have seven blind spots.
So Team Machine will live but that’s all they can do.Seven new identities, prepared by Root, seven separated lives. The Library lost, smashed by Decima. Everything lost. Going different ways. No more numbers, no more missions, just living under the most wide-ranging radar there has ever been.
What will they do? What can they do?
It’s time for season 4.